Wall St slips ahead of Fed policy meet, Instacart market debut

By Ankika Biswas and Shristi Achar A

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes slipped on Tuesday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting, with investors awaiting grocery delivery app Instacart’s Nasdaq debut to assess a potential recovery in the IPO market.

Instacart parent Maplebear Inc secured a fully diluted valuation of $9.9 billion on Monday after its IPO was priced at $30 per share, the top of its indicated price range.

Chip designer Arm Holdings had a stellar market debut last week, raising hopes of a revival in the initial public offering (IPO) market after a near 18-month dry spell.

Arm and Instacart could drive others to go public, though it is still a difficult environment for IPOs with interest rates high and the economy slowing, said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield.

Arm fell 4.6% after announcing its IPO had closed and that underwriters had exercised the full over-allotment option of 7 million American Depositary Shares.

The stock’s options began trading at a brisk pace on Monday, with many investors positioning for further downside.

A rise in U.S. Treasury yields weighed on some growth stocks, with Amazon, Nvidia and Microsoft down between 0.5% and 2.0%.

Investors are also focused on the two-day Fed meeting during the day, with the central bank expected to hold benchmark interest rate at the current 5.25%-5.50% range on Wednesday.

Recent economic data has signaled that core inflation is crawling toward the Fed’s 2% target, though crude prices gaining for three consecutive weeks to around 10-month highs remains a concern.

Further piling on price pressures, Canada’s annual inflation rate in August jumped in July as gasoline prices rose.

Economic data has largely indicated that the U.S. economy remains resilient, boosting the hopes for a soft landing and allaying concerns of a possible recession.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Reuters that a “soft-landing” scenario for the U.S. economy can withstand near-term risks including a United Auto Workers strike and the threat of a government shutdown.

Traders have fully priced in a pause by the Fed on Wednesday, while chances of interest rates remaining unchanged in November stood at 74%, according to CME’s FedWatch tool.

Investors will scrutinise the Fed’s quarterly report on economic projections, which will be released on Wednesday, to gauge participating members’ longer-term policy outlook.

At 9:50 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 52.01 points, or 0.15%, at 34,572.29, the S&P 500 was down 8.83 points, or 0.20%, at 4,444.70, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 56.78 points, or 0.41%, at 13,653.46.

Starbucks lost 1.7% after TD Cowen downgraded the coffee chain to “underperform”.

The consumer discretionary sector housing the stock lost 1.0% and was among the top S&P 500 sectoral decliners.

CVS Health Corp gained 1.9% after Evercore ISI upgraded the U.S. pharmacy chain to “outperform” from “in line”.

Walt Disney lost 2.5% as it nearly doubled its capital expenditure for the parks business to about $60 billion over the next 10 years.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.40-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.08-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded six new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 14 new highs and 103 new lows.

(Reporting by Ankika Biswas and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)